Full disclosure - I made these picks way back at the beginning of training camp.
Of course, the danger in that is injuries happen, players don't perform, or other things come up that make you look at a team very differently.
Like Vincent Jackson's holdout not reaching an amicable conclusion.
A month-plus ago, I felt pretty confident that Jackson would be back with the Chargers by the time the regular season rolled around.
It's not looking that way.
On Friday the Chargers took the step of trading for Patrick Crayton, setting themselves up with another receiver as Jackson is likely to be traded.
Jackson's imminent departure is representative of the 2010 Chargers - out with the old, in with the new. LaDainian Tomlinson is gone, first-round draft pick Ryan Mathews is taking over the number one running back duties. (Though Darren Sproles is still in the mix as well.) On defense, Antonio Cromartie joins Tomlinson across the country with the Jets, and defensive tackle Jamal Williams is also gone. But in each spot there is an NFL player ready to take over (or a good-looking rookie, a la Mathews), and the Chargers shouldn't miss a beat.
Crayton joins Malcolm Floyd to give Philip Rivers another target. The Chargers will miss Jackson, who has gotten better and better each year (hard to like because of his attitude, but he's a good receiver), but the two main receivers they have, combined with pass-catching ability out of the backfield, plus Antonio Gates at tight end still will provide the Chargers with plenty of offense.
The Chargers' season may not be shaping up exactly the way I foresaw it in late July, but certain pieces haven't changed. They still play in a weak division, and should still win the AFC West. They are still a team that does well in the regular season and then falls apart in the post-season. I don't think enough has changed to make me change my pick...or the Chargers to change their disappointing ways once the playoffs roll around.
2010 Prediction: 12-4, 1st Place in AFC West